The poem was read in classrooms around the world and has influenced countless literary works, but the author's identity of Beowulf remains unknown. Scientists can not agree on exactly when the anonymous poet wrote Beowulf or if it was only one person at all. Now, a study published in the journal Nature Human Behavior could finally put aside part of this debate. After analyzing the text of the Old English Epic, the researchers concluded that Beowulf is the work of an author reporting Boston Globe . Beowulf follows a brave hero, the title character, as he shoots beasts in Scandinavia, including a monster named Grendel and Grendel's mother. The oldest extant manuscript dates from about 1
For their study, researchers from Harvard and other universities used computer algorithms to find patterns in the poem. One type of literary statistical analysis called stylometry Beowulf could collapse by a number of factors including counters, pauses, wording, and the prevalence of certain letter combinations of the characteristic style elements of Beowulf are consistent throughout the poem, suggesting that each lineage comes from the same source. Who this author may have been, is not yet known.
Lovers like to speculate about the true authorship of great works – even if they are associated with famous names. Some experts believe that up to nine writers are actually responsible for William Shakespeare's complete works.
[h/t Boston Globe]